22 May 2017, 00:00
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

Germany & China appeal to US on climate / Swiss vote for Energiewende

Clean Energy Wire

Germany and China reiterated their calls on the US administration to commit to international climate protection efforts and stay in the Paris Agreement at a climate conference in Berlin. Germany is currently trying “on all levels” to persuade the US administration to stay in the agreement, said environment minister Barbara Hendricks at a press conference ahead of the 8th Petersberg Climate Dialogue, held 22 – 23 May in Berlin. China's Special Representative on Climate Change Xie Zhenhua said that “no country, no people” could stop the global trend towards climate protection.
The Petersberg Climate Dialogue gives countries the opportunity to informally exchange experiences on international climate policy.

Follow the public segments of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue via livestream here and find the programme in English here.

For background, read the CLEW article Germany keeps pushing for G20 climate focus.

The Clean Energy Wire will publish an article on this topic later today.

G20 countries must promote climate protection and the implementation of the Paris Agreement, said the Federation of German Industries (BDI), Germanwatch and Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) in a joint press release ahead of the 8th Petersberg Climate Dialogue. The meeting in Berlin today and tomorrow should provide the necessary tailwind for the G20 summit in Hamburg in July, they said. BDI deputy managing director Holger Lösch called on G20 governments to lay the groundwork for a CO₂ price at the Hamburg summit.

Find the press release in German here.

A clear majority of voters in Switzerland have opted for a new energy law that aims to promote renewable energy, bans construction of new nuclear plants and fosters greater energy efficiency, Urs Geiser writes on About 58 percent of Swiss voters in a referendum on Sunday backed the government’s Energy Strategy 2050 programme, which had been debated for six years, Geiser writes. Swiss energy Minister Doris Leuthard said the vote opened “a new chapter in Switzerland’s energy policy,” but there was “still a lot of work to do.”

Read the article in English here.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Swiss voters have been lured into voting for the government’s Energy Strategy 2050 by “a phalanx of profiteers” of the new law, Giorgio V. Müller writes in a commentary for conservative Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ). The vote could have been “a democratic legitimation of Switzerland’s energy strategy – but it isn’t,” he says. The new law avoids the critical issue of steering the country away from nuclear power production towards more renewables and energy efficiency, Müller argues. The law as it stands “defines only the benefits” and will make actors in the Swiss energy sector mere “subsidy hunters,” according to Müller.

Read the commentary in German here.

AG Energiebilanzen

Germany’s primary energy consumption fell 1.4 percent in the first quarter of the year, according to statistics from energy market research group AG Energiebilanzen (AGEB). While economic growth and low January temperatures pushed energy consumption higher, these factors were offset by warm weather in March and the fact that February 2017 had one day less than in 2016, which was a leap year. Renewable energy use was up 5 percent compared to the first quarter of 2016, while coal use was also up and nuclear energy use was down more than 33 percent due to maintenance works. AGEB told the Clean Energy Wire it did not have any data adjusted for calendar and temperature effects.

Find the press release in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet Germany's energy consumption and power mix in charts for background.


German utility RWE and French counterpart Engie are studying a possible share swap that could create a Franco-German giant in power grids, renewables and energy services with a market value of about 50 billion euros, report Arno Schuetze, Geert De Clercq and Julien Ponthus for Reuters. Options being looked at could involve RWE swapping part or all of its majority stake in renewables and grids firm innogy in exchange for a minority stake in Engie, four investment banking sources told the authors. Shares in the three companies jumped on the news.

Read the article in English here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier Battered utilities take on start-ups in innovation race.

Manager magazin / dpa

Carmaker Daimler plans to develop a new generation of diesel engines regardless of pending driving bans in many German cities, according to a report by news agency dpa carried by manager magazine. “From today’s point of view, there is no reason to say there will not be a next generation for this diesel family,” said Ola Källenius, head of Daimler research and development. Swedish carmaker Volvo recently announced it would end its development of new diesel engines.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers and the factsheet Reluctant Daimler plans “radical” push into new mobility world

Welt am Sonntag

Denmark is the only European country where customers pay more for power than in Germany, Michael Höfling writes in weekly newspaper Welt am Sonntag. Danes pay about 31 euros for 100 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity – one euro more than the Germans and considerably more than the EU-average of 20.54 euros, Höfling says. A constantly rising renewables levy and mounting costs from grid expansion “make the prospects for cost-decreasing effects very limited,” he writes. However, “high power prices and a happy life are not mutually exclusive,” Höfling says. Denmark has thrice led the “World Happines Report”, he says.

See the CLEW factsheet What German households pay for power for more information.

Federal German Government

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for intensifying the country’s battery-cell research efforts, the Federal Government (Bundesregierung) says in a press release. In her weekly video-podcast, Merkel says “we know that the car industry faces some substantial changes” due to the expected shift to e-mobility. But while new developments in the technology, such as a recently unveiled battery that allows a driving range of 1,000 kilometres, demonstrate that “a leap forward” is possible, Germany still relies on imported battery cells, she says. Germany currently supports battery cell research with 35 million euros annually and more research is the only way to improve chances that “a modern production of the next generation of cells will take place in Europe or Germany,” Merkel says.

Find Merkel’s video-podcast in German here (text version available here).

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